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Pontiac Bonneville Starting/Stallling/Ignition Problems



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739
    Is the type of stall instant like it's electrical?
    If not, then the fuel pressure must be tested while it's running and hopefully when it stalls. Since it needs a short rest to "cool"? that might indicate a pump. Get a fuel pressure gauge from a store that loans them and tape it to the windshield while you drive (need longer hose?) and watch for the stall and see what the fuel pressure is at that time. Luckily pumps in the 2003 are accessible through the trunk!!!

    Or a crankshaft position sensor. But those are in the mid 90s cars that crankshaft position sensors occasionally give. Splashing cold water on a sensor is supposed to help it restart as a test for the symptom.

    MAFs can be removed and cleaned. Replace only with a GM brand for best success. If someone has an equivalent one to substitute for yours to drive a while and see if the problem goes away, that's ideal. Does someone have a parts car for you?

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  • becar3becar3 Posts: 3
    Not electrial..lights, radio, heat etc work even when totally stopped.

    Liking your fuel pressure gauge thing when it stalls out no reaction to apply gas petal.

    Just not buying dealers MAF theroy

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739
    It might be worth looking at the MAF. They are easily removed with a security torx bit, available in sets at Harbor Freight, etc. Use MAF spray cleaner on the fragile, fragile wires inside the plastic housing that have the airstream moving over them.

    It might need cleaning. Some cars get the throttle plate area gunked up with crankcase fumes that condense in the entrance to the upper intake manifold when the car is shut off.

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  • On mine, it was a combination of events: Cheap Gas with high sulfur and 10% Ethanol mix (Partially clogs fuel filter); Back pressure pushes weak fuel pump to being even weaker; MAF Sensor wires were coated with Fume Effluences, caused by clogged PCV and EGR systems. Tuning up, cleaning and running both fuel and oil cleanings got it back to running fine. Total replacement of a MAF is rarely needed under 150,000 miles per a long time mechanic friend from Church, Just some dealers would rather replace at set cost than trying to clean, diagnose and repair final source of problem. Will get worse as Pontiac branding and dealers go away. First, check the filters and sensors for clogs, dirt, fume coating. Then (or at same time) check the fuel pressure out--- MAKE SURE that all fuel fittings used for adding the gauge are tight/free of leaks to avoid fire/separate loss of pressure. Then, buy only fuel fro trusted sources, such as the major brands. (Fast Tommie's Fuel & Smoke mart probably isn't it). If one or both sensor wires in the MAF are frayed or satretched, you will have to replace the package, ($400 +/-).
    Good Luck!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739
    Sounds like you had a bad gas fill. In my opinion, ethanol in higher (10%) can help pick up water and other oils settled happily in the bottom of the fuel tank and then try to move them through the fine fuel filter which catches them and clogs from the globules. The MAF sensor gets coated from the back burst of oils fumes in the crankcase when the engine is shut off. While running the PCV pulls air from the crankcase and into the incoming air stream in the upper intake manifold. At shutoff those fumes are left just floating and then condense on the MAF, throttle body, and the inside of the upper.

    I didn't think even the quality MAF sensors cost $400. I'll be more careful with mine the next time I spray it and use a camel artists brush to clean it--that's a lot of money. I'm trying to check on price to see if I can learn more.

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  • remi2remi2 Posts: 2
    my car is missing when u first start it then after a while it stops missing and every now and again it misses when u drive it . i took it and had it put on a machine it said miss fire on number 3 cilender . i changed plugs and wires,cole pack,and fuel injecter, could the crank sensor cause that
  • becar3becar3 Posts: 3
    Just to let you all know, after the car being in the dealership for 3 days and there inability to have the car stall on them. They kept saying that it was the MAF and I wasn't buying that. For the last week on a fresh tank of gas, no stalls. Hoping that is it for this issue. Thank you all.
  • 3 months ago my girlfriends 99 bonneville stalled on her when she was making a turn into parking lot she started it right back up n it ran with no problems. last month it stalled on me once it didnt wanna start right away but after sitting 5 min it did n ran fine until a few days ago when she shut it off then went to leave 10 min after shut off n would only run for 2-3 seconds then stall again. its now to the point where it will run just fine until the engine gets to operating temp then will stall. then goes back to the 2-3 second run time i mentioned earlier. if i push gas pedal when it starts warm it will miss and sputter then just stall out and can smell unburned fuel. i know everyone is having relatively the same problems but if someone could give me some positive feedback that would b greatly appriciated thank you very much
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739
    Fuel pressure regulator--check for liquid fuel in the vacuum line to it. Shouldn't be any.

    Fuel pump failure with low pressure at times gives poor mixture affecting running. Some auto parts box stores loan fuel pressure gauges that you connect at the Schraeder valve on the motor on the fuel line.

    Check crankshaft position sensor just under the edge of the harmonic balancer.
    Does not set a code if it's starting to fail. Tap it to see it that effects a start. Splash cold water on it sometimes has been said to fix it when it starts failing.

    Check spark control connections under the coils. Remove each coil and inspect the contacts. Check the connector at the end of the plate for poor contact.

    Try removing the MAF sensor lead and see if it starts and runs better. Might need cleaning on the two little wires. Use a liquid MAF cleaner spray. Do not touch wires.

    Have spark plugs and wires been kept in good condition? They are supposed to go 100K but 80K is a nicer time to get them replaced with factory quality wires and AC plugs.

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  • I have a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville SE with about 230K miles. The problem started about 1-1/2 yr ago. Initially it would happen on rare occasions, I'd turn the key and nothing just a clicking sound, I'd turn the key again and it would start right up. But for about the past year now it just kept progressively getting worse and worse with each passing day. It takes more than a couple of turns of the key to eventually get it started. Now it takes 20-30 mins of turning the key on and off before it will start, all you hear is the clicking sound of the starter but it wont start. All the lights and guages come on like normal. I took off the starter, alternator and battery (less than 6 months old) and took them to get checked at the auto parts store and they checked out fine. I checked all the connections, cleaned everything and still wont start. The only odd thing, aside from the fact that it wont start, is that on very rare occasions it wont even click and when that happens I notice that the Security light on the guages comes on and stays on even after I take out the key from the ignition. When this has happened I have to wait until the light turns off on it's own and then I'll get the clicking sound of the starter.

    Any ideas what else I could check for?
  • I replaced the plugs and wires about 12k ago...where is the fuel pressure you know a site I could search so I can see it...Ill try the other things as well....I also have no heat...checked all fuses...dials, etc...does anyone know where the heater core is...and how hard is it going to be to replace it...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739

    Fuel pressure regulator is silver cylinder on top of fuel rail at right side with one vacuum line going to it.

    How do you know your heater core must be replaced? Leaking?

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  • my 1995 bonneville 3.8 starts and dies. I have replaced the cam and crank position sensors. It has fuel and spark. The injectors dont work. I can put fuel in the throttle body and It will run. 125000 miles.
  • joann8joann8 Posts: 3
    i change sterring colum and now car starts put only for a few seconds then shuts off,,can anyone tell me what to do
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739
    >i change sterring colum

    What did you do with the keys for the old column? Did you switch the lock cylinder to the replacement column?

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  • llmmoorellmmoore Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Bonneville that I bought used. I am only getting about 17 or 18 miles per gal. There is a slight shutter in transmission and the engine seems to run good with a very slight miss and idling at about 1000 RPM's. Also today my wife was driving to town and the car died while she was driving down the road. The car had now power no lights no crank. After a little bit car started like nothing happened. Drove a little further and died again same thing no lights no crank. Waited a little bit and it started and has been fine so far. ANY IDEAS would be greatly appreciated
  • krause269krause269 Posts: 1
    Car ran great until one day it started overheating so I brought the vehicle into a local repair shop that does free estimates they said it was lower intake gasket and water pump gasket so I went a purchased a complete intake gasket set as well as water pump gasket. After replacing all the gaskets blowing the coolant out of the cylinders and multiple oil changes the car finally started up with a small plume of white smoke eventually dissipating. On the road the car ran rough misfiring in 2 cylinders so I proceeded to check spark replacing spark plugs with some slightly used ones I had. Then noticed corrosion on the spark plug wires so I decided to replace those as well. Problem continued so I headed to the junk yard and picked up 2 ignition coils to replace the two that had been misfiring. Now when I turn the key over it just cranks, There is fuel in the fuel rails and all plugs get white hot spark. To me it seems very strange that I change old parts to new parts and now it wont even start. I have checked the firing order and made sure all wires are firmly snapped in place on the coils. Please anyone who may know what I did wrong help me out.
  • cbleavinscbleavins Posts: 2
    edited July 2010
    In the heat of the day my car will runs for about 10 miles and than it will start to sputter and act like it is running out of gas than it will eventually die. I can be driving down the street at a steady speed and than all of a sudden my RPM's will drop all the way down and than it will start slowing down and if I push on the gas it will sputter but it doesn't help anything it just dies. If I let it set for about 5-10 minutes it will run fine for about 5 minutes and than it will start acting up again. Again this only happens in the heat of the day!!! I have replaced the MAF senor, O2 sensor, catilac converter, spark plugs and wire, fuel filter and tested the ignition module all is good. I'm at a lose and honestly don't know what to do. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!! :sick:
  • kyearberkyearber Posts: 6
    Hello, I've got a "97 Bonneville SE with a little over 200K miles on it. It ran fine up to this afternoon. I got home shut it off then came out about an hour later and now it will not even crank. I replaced the Bat about 1 and a half months ago (dead cell), and I gave the VATS system a lobotomy last year when I found the ignition was causing an issue with the VATS system. My security light goes out about 10 seconds after turning on the ignition but nothing happens. All the power accessories work and none of the lights get dime when the ignition is engaged. Anyone have a clue what could be happening?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,739
    If you can look down under the front of the motor and hit the solenoid on the starter with something of mass like a plastic hammer it might cause the starter to engage. Have someone hold the key to crank while you do that. A neighbor knows where to hit and uses a metal hammer.

    You might have a battery that has given up the ghost.
    You mmight have a battery cable not making connection, usually at the battery and you'll have to disconnect cables to check for corrosion.

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